30 Days of Video Games – Day 8 – Favorite Soundtrack

I would like to start this post out by apologizing for missing one of my previous posts. This past week/weekend has been incredibly exhausting for me. Tonight, sadly, the the first night I got home before 11 PM. Anyway so lets get on with what this post was meant for! My favorite sound track. Which, I would have to say is Journey on the Playstation 3.

I cannot describe how amazing this soundtrack is. It fits perfectly with the game and it is even one that I listen to when I am not playing it. The composer for the soundtrack was Austin Wintory and he does an incredible job on it. It has beautiful sweeping melodies that can get stuck in your head followed by sad melancholy songs that are used to immerse the players during the darker parts of the games narrative. This soundtrack is so good that it is the first video game soundtrack to be nominated for a grammy. Other games have gotten songs nominated before but never the full soundtrack. Mr. Wintory was up against some of the best known composers in the movie industry. John Williams, Trent Reznor were among 2 of the big contenders. Sadly he did not win the grammy but it still was amazing he got nominated. If you have not played the game or listened to it’s sound track. Give them a try, I don’t think you will be disappointed!

What is your favorite soundtrack?

- Coveltine

30 Days of Video Games – Day 7 – Favorite Game Couple

There have been many famous game couples. Mario and Peach, Cloud and Tifa or Aerith depending on who you prefer, and so many more. For my favorite couple however, I chose Elena and Drake from the Uncharted games.

I chose this couple for two reasons. First, they seem like real people. Naughty Dog did an amazing job when creating these characters. Their dialogue back and forth feels natural. They have conversations you could picture yourself having with your significant other. Ok, well maybe not conversations about parachuting out of airplanes so you can catch a military convoy, but you get the idea. My second reason is that I like them the most is their voice actors. Nolan North and Emily Rose are amazing in their roles. I was so absorbed by their performances that when I saw them in a real TV show I was confused why I was hearing Drake’s voice coming out of a totally different character. I really wish I could put into words why I like them so much but I guess to simplify it. I like them because they seem real.

What is your favorite game couple??

- Coveltine

30 Days of Video Games – Day 6 – Most Annoying Character

Beyond a shadow of a doubt it would have to be Yuffie, from Final Fantasy VII. Words cannot describe how much she bothers me.

Yuffie drove me up a wall in FF7. She challenges you to a fight. You beat her so she decides to join your party. That’s all fine and dandy but you have to answer all her questions first otherwise she gets mad, runs away and steals money from you. So when you FINALLY get her in your party and play through the game with her, you find out she’s useless. And not only is she useless, but on your travels, you stumble across her hometown of Wutai. Once you enter that town she freaks out and steals all your materia and you have to start a random side quest to track her down and get all your stuff back. The only benefit I found from this side mission is that you get a new summon materia, Leviathan. It’s a pretty cool summon and all but not worth the amount of time that you spent dealing with her crap and getting all your materia back.

I know normally I don’t get this mad about things on my blog but this character just infuriates me. For me it’s usually really minor things in games that anger me. If a game has glaring problems but I enjoy the game, it doesn’t bother me. But when I find something small it infuriates me and I have no idea. Oh well, I guess it makes for funny rants to my friends.

Who is the most annoying character for you?

- Coveltine

30 Days of Video Games – Day 5 – Game Character you feel you are most like (Or wish you were)

For day 5 I am choosing Red the original pokemon trainer from Pokemon Red/Blue.

 

With the release of Pokemon X/Y I have been feeling nostalgic and it reminded me of how much I wished I could be a pokemon trainer as a kid. I mean lets be honest, who doesn’t wish pokemon were real. I chose the original games not only for their nostalgic feeling but because I still feel like there are mysteries left to solve in that game. Every time I play I find some little tiny detail I never noticed before.  I want to be Red because I want pokemon to be real, and it’s as simple as that.

- Coveltine

30 Days of Video Games – Day 4 – Your Guilty Pleasure Game

I wasn’t sure what to put for this one initially. Most games that I play a lot I am not embarrassed to tell others about. But I narrowed it down to two, World of Warcraft and Dance Dance Revolution(DDR). In end I chose DDR because it’s usually not nearly as common to find other people who love DDR. So here it is, DDR, my guilty pleasure game.

Dance Dance Revolution was/is a big arcade hit. You see the machines in arcades and there is always that one guy who is disgustingly good at it. Eventually a crowd draws around him and you are all just standing there in awe of his DDR prowess. For me DDR reminds me of summer. I first got hooked on it during summer in between school terms (I don’t remember the year). My friend Justin and I played it pretty much all summer and worked our way up from beginner difficulty to heavy difficulty. I still play it from time to time, but now, sadly it’s to work away the gut I’ve grown from working a desk job. I don’t have too much to say about the game but I guess it’s my guilty pleasure because the people I do tell I play it a lot give me the strangest looks. I’ve given up caring about those looks when it randomly springs up in conversation, but I’m still hesitant to share my love of DDR with others because of it.

What is your guilty pleasure game?

And while your writing check this DDR beast out.

- Coveltine

30 Days of Video Games – Day 3 – An Underrated Game

Today is the 3rd post out of 30! And as you can see by the title, it is an underrated game. My favorite underrated game of all time would have to be Metal Arms: Glitch in the System.

Metal Arms is a 3rd person shooter that was released for the PS2, Xbox, and Gamecube back in 2003. You play as the main character Glitch, a droid that was found in a junk pile somewhere in the giant scrap planet, Iron Star. You are rescued by a resistance group of droids who are fighting evolved versions of themselves called Milbots. I will spare you the run down on the whole plot of the game because what I want to focus on is the game play. The story isn’t terrible mind you, but for me, it isn’t the best part of it. I loved the game play and I still say it’s one of the most fun games I’ve ever played.

Lets start with the controls. The controls of the game are great. It’s a lot like our current gen FPS configuration, your left joystick controls the character and the right controls the camera. Your right trigger (or R1 for PS2 players) is fire and your grenade button is the left trigger (L1 on the PS2). These simple controls make the game easy for anyone to pick up. You get a large assortment of weapons to chose from as the game progresses. And what’s nice is, that since you are a robot, you can carry as many weapons as you like and you just pop one gun off of your arm (kinda like megaman) and pop the new one on. They have all kinds of weapons. Machine guns, shotguns, snipers, RPGs, etc.. and my personal favorite, the control tether. The control tether lets you take over any milbot you shoot at that is in range and has a d-port on their back. You shoot the tether at them and can control them and their weapons up to a certain range. This can be incredibly fun to start dicking around with later on in the game. Each weapon can also receive up to 3 upgrades which boosts their damage and adds some extra bonuses. For example, when the sniper rifle in the game (called the Rivet Gun) is upgraded, the bullets will explode a second or so after impact with an object or enemy. Each weapon has their own unique bonus like that as you level them up.

And to finish up this post…. Why you should get the game. It’s funny (really funny), it’s fast paced and action packed, and most importantly, it’s fun. If you have never heard of this game, then I suggest you go find it and play it. You won’t be disappointed. Well….. At least I don’t think you will be disappointed. Anyway! I will leave you all with a clip of the first 10ish minutes of the game so you can see what it’s like!

What is your favorite underrated game? Let me know in the comments!

- Coveltine

30 Days of Video Games – Day 2 – Your favorite character

Day number two! Lets go!

Today is my favorite character in video games. This one was a little tough to chose just because there are so many characters I like. But after narrowing it down, I think it would have to be Ratchet from the Ratchet and Clank series. All the characters from this series I like a lot, but I am going to focus on Ratchet.

I have logged numerous hours in these games. And, I can honestly say with the exception of Uncharted and Bioshock, that this is my favorite game series. They all have a fun tongue in cheek feel to them and that is most evident in their characters. Ratchet is a lombax who is best friends with a robot named clank, and together they fight evil with the weirdest assortment of weapons you will ever see. A lot of the newer games have focused more seriously on ratchet’s past but it makes for some fun character development. Ratchet is also a genius with pretty much anything mechanical and he uses that knowledge to help out people along their journeys. His knowledge helps you get some really fun gadgets as well as awesome weapons. It’s actually kinda weird why he is my favorite. He is a fun character, not one that is incredibly deep or complicated or anything like that. But he is fun, and that appeals a lot to me. Maybe its because I enjoy the child-like innocence of the game or maybe since he is so simple I can project myself more on to him. In any case Ratchet is my favorite character because he is simple and fun. And that’s all I could ask for in a video game character.

On a random note watch this awesome video clip from one of the games!

What is your favorite character in video games? Let me know in the comments!

- Coveltine

30 Days of Video Games – Day 1 – Your very first game

So a while ago, on my facebook, I did small series called 30 days of video games. Basically, I posted a new photo every day for 30 days straight and each day would be on a different topic in gaming. So I figured why not do an updated version for my blog! Of course I won’t be posting everyday but I will do my regular 2 posts a week and move on from there! So lets begin! Here is day one……

To determine what my first video game is would be is difficult. Is it the first game I ever played? Or is it the first game I ever owned/was given to me? If it was the first option, I’m not gonna lie, there is no way for me to remember. It could have been the old games on the Texas Instruments computers or maybe Power Pete on my family’s old Mac. So I’m gonna go with the first game that was given to me, and that was Donkey Kong 64.

This game was the first experience I had on the N64. At first, I was honestly under whelmed. You see, I wanted a Sega Genesis like my neighbors had so i could play Sonic, and my personal favorite on the Genesis, Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster’s Hidden Treasure. So when I played it the first time all I could think was, “What is this garbage? This isn’t like Sonic!”. Little did I know I would end up loving Donkey Kong 64 more than most other games on my 64. What finally got me hooked on the game was seeing the first major zone in the game, Jungle Japes. I don’t know what it is about this zone but I love it. I love all the different areas you can explore and the new things to see later on in the game when you get more playable characters.  Like when i discovered the mine cart challenges hidden in the mountain or finding cranky’s hut in the back of the zone. I always felt like there was something I hadn’t found yet there. Of course this wasn’t the only zone with secrets and other goodies like that, Jungle Japes was just the zone that got me completely involved in the game.

Donkey 64 is also one of of the most difficult games to fully complete. Not because of the difficulty but just the shear amount of things there is to do in the game. There are a handful on mini games to play, collecting all the bananas for every character, collecting all the golden bananas and so much more. The game just packs tons and tons of things to do in it and I loved every minute of it. For those who haven’t played it at all pick it up. The graphics are dated but the game play is still incredibly fun. Plus who doesn’t love that awesome DK rap.

What was your first video game? Let me know in the comments! Oh! and if you guys like this, I will gladly post the list so you can start your own!

- Coveltine

Journey

To go along with my “Video games are art” post I wanted to review Journey. This game is probably one of the strongest arguments I’ve seen to show just how far games have come and how artistic they can be. Of course there are many other games that are good examples of this, like Shadow of the Colossus on the PS2. Anyway, I wanted to post this yesterday but I had no time sadly =(. So here it is today!

Journey was release in early 2012 to world wide acclaim. This game is the definition of short and sweet, with it taking about 2 hours to beat the game, but don’t let that fool you. It packs an emotional punch for such a short game and one that will stick with you. The whole concept of the game is that you awaken in a desert and you must travel to a mountain off in the distance. You collect power ups which increases the length of your scarf, which, depending on the length affects how long you are able to jump/float through the air. The game makes you travel through deserts, ruins and snowy mountains to reach your goal, and on your Journey you meet other players from around the world. Now, this is where Journey is unique. In their multiplayer you cannot communicate with the other player with the exception of some little chirps you can send out which basically is like a “HEY YOU! LOOK AT ME!” but other than that you cannot talk, type or any other kind of communication. Well if you are hard core you may try morse code, but it’s not with it in my opinion. What is also unique is that you don’t actually know anything about the other player and I mean nothing. They do not tell you when they entered the game world and they don’t tell you their PSN name, well at least not until the credits. You can chose to either stay with this new friend of yours and continue on with them or leave them be and go by your self. Both choices will not affect the ending or the game play too much but the magic of the game is in the interaction with other players.

When you travel with this stranger, the game encourages you to work together to get to the next area and solve the puzzles. More experienced players can guide the newer players to all the power up locations hidden throughout the world. You can tell how experienced others are by looking at their players outfit. All new players start out with a simple plain red robe. As you play and beat the game more often it adds more designs to your robe, showing others how experienced you are within the game world. The strange thing is that when you beat the game with a player you don’t know and have only been playing with for 2 hours you feel a strange connection to them. As you last moments of the game are happening and you two are walking to the final destination its a bitter sweet ending but a beautiful one at that. I won’t spoil the story of the game for those who have not played it but I highly suggest picking up the game. If you don’t have a PS3, find a friend who does! It is well worth it.

To sum it up the game is beautiful and it crafts a very fun and creative experience for the player and lets you bond with strangers without any communication. And I will leave you with this link of a picture I saw of a message another Journey player. http://imgur.com/YWCuJhS

- Coveltine

 

P.S. On a totally random and non-related note. This video is AWESOME!

Video Games are Art

The debate whether video games can be considered art or not has been debated endlessly. Everyone has thrown their 2 cents in, maybe 3 if you’re rich. Anyway, so I have had an opinion on this for a while now and I figured, why not!? I will jump right on that band wagon and throw my penny in (I say penny because, well you can figure it out). And to start this post I will just state right away that I agree with the stance of video games being art, and this is why.

Video games bring something unique to entertainment. Instead of passively watching, reading or listening to entertainment you actually participate in it and help shape the events of the game world around you. The whole purpose of art is for the artist to express a message that he or she feels is important. What is interesting about games is that the message can change depending on how someone plays them. They are interactive, and that adds more depth. When the viewer can change the art piece to their liking, it makes player more invested in the game. I think what’s even more interesting about video games is that when a designer builds a game its not a static art form. Movies and books cannot be changed once released. Games change every play-through. This presents an artist with a unique challenge in creating game. They have to create a world that is open enough for the player to build their own experience, but constricted enough to make it enjoyable no matter who plays it. What other medium lets you craft your own experience through the original artist’s lens? Yea, you can interpret books and movies and music in your own way but you don’t build the experience you get from them, they are decided for you.

Games should be considered art for the simple fact that they can tell a message in a way books, movies and music cannot. They share a message through the players interaction not the creator’s actions. And that, in my opinion, is why games are art.

 

- Coveltine